What roads are now Open
  • Now open as of April 19 2019: West Entrance to Madison, Mammoth to Old Faithful, Norris to Canyon. The road from the North Entrance (Gardiner) to the Northeast Entrance (Cooke City) is open year-round.
  • For up-to-date information consult the map above, call (307) 344-2117 for recorded information, or sign up to receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone by texting “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions).
  • Open roads may close temporarily due to inclement weather and other reasons.
  • Open roads are not gated at night: people may enter/exit the park 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Where should I stay when Yellowstone is full?

There are many lodging options near Yellowstone. Your choice will depend on your personal preference and how far you wish to drive to see the sights you wish to visit in Yellowstone.

West Yellowstone, Montana offers the greatest number of hotel rooms and cabins, Cooke City / Silver Gate, Montana the least.

Gardiner is close to the north entrance of Yellowstone, but does not have as many rooms as does West Yellowstone.

Cody, Wyoming (to the east) and Jackson, Wyoming (south) are each about an hour from Yellowstone. Read the rest

Where should I stay near Yellowstone?

Each of the five entrances to Yellowstone is adjacent or near a gateway community. The various lodging options in the gateway communities run the gamut from relatively inexpensive to upscale and expensive, and include national chain lodging properties as well as unique, local accommodations.

Your choice of lodging in a given gateway community will involve some driving time to see Yellowstone. During your Yellowstone visit you may want to make reservations in more than one gateway community in order to more easily see more of the park.

The west entrance is the most popular park entrance. Adjacent to the west entrance is the town of West Yellowstone, Montana, a gateway community featuring many lodging options from guest ranches to hotels to home rentals to glamping and camping. West Yellowstone is 30 miles from Old Faithful Village.

At the northern entrance to the park the small town of Gardiner, Montana offers a variety of hotels and home rentals. Gardiner is five miles from Yellowstone’s Mammoth Village.

Near Yellowstone’s northeast entrance are the adjacent communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana. Accommodations include hotels and rentals. Cooke City and Silver Gate are in the vicinity of the famed Lamar Valley, renowned as the best place to watch the park’s wolves.

Within fifty miles east of the park’s east entrance are a number of hotels, campgrounds and dude ranches. The famous Old West town of Cody, Wyoming is fifty miles from Yellowstone’s east entrance and offers many hotel and cabin options.

Grand Teton National Park is south of Yellowstone. Hotel rooms and cabins are available in Grand Teton National Park and in Jackson, Wyoming, yet further to the South. Read the rest

Where should I stay in Yellowstone?

If you wish to lodge inside of Yellowstone National Park, it is best to plan well ahead of time as most of the rooms inside the park fill a year ahead of time.

The park is very large. When choosing a lodging option, one approach is to pick a hotel or lodge near attractions you wish to visit.

Be advised that lodging inside Yellowstone contains no televisions, swimming pools or many other modern amenities.

Built in 1903/04, the Old Faithful Inn is the most iconic and most popular lodge in Yellowstone. A world-renowned lodge made of lodgepole pine logs, the Inn features a variety of rooms and is situated in Old Faithful Village adjacent to the Upper Geyser Basin and near Old Faithful Geyser, the most popular attraction in the park. Other lodging options in the village include the Old Faithful Snow Lodge (hotel rooms and cabins) and the Old Faithful Lodge (cabins).

Many other lodging options are also available in Yellowstone.

Lake Village is home to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cabins, the most upscale lodging facilities in the park. Also in Lake Village are the Lake Lodge and Cabins, another popular lodging option.

Also in the interior of Yellowstone is the newly-remodeled Canyon Lodge and Cabins, located near the Grand Canyon and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

North of the Canyon Lodge and Cabins is the Roosevelt Lodge, the smallest of the lodging villages and the most rustic cabins in the park.

The Mammoth Hotel and Cabins in Mammoth Hot Springs are located near Yellowstone’s northern entrance. Grant Village Hotel, a 1960s-era structure, is near the southern entrance.

In addition to lodges, hotels and cabins, many roadside public campgrounds are available throughout Yellowstone. Read the rest

What would happen if the volcano in Yellowstone erupted?

The Yellowstone supervolcano is different from a regular volcano. Residing underneath Yellowstone, the supervolcano generates enormous amounts of heat near the surface of the ground that in turn powers the thousands of geysers, hot pools, mud pots and steam vents in the park. Geological studies indicate that over the course of recent millions of years the supervolcano has erupted approximately every 600,000 years. There are no indications it will erupt anytime soon.

Humanity may have disappeared from planet earth by the time Yellowstone’s supervolcano again erupts. But should that not be the case, and if the land mass of the United States (or whatever it may be called by that time) is roughly the same as now, the eruption could cause various levels of devastation and damage over perhaps one-half of the land mass, while potentially triggering global climate change. Read the rest

Can you drive in Yellowstone?

The northern section of Yellowstone, from the North entrance at Gardner, Montana to the Northeast entrance at Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobile traffic throughout the year. All roads in the Park are generally open from June through late October, depending upon weather conditions and/or road construction projects. Roads in the park in addition to the northern section are partially open from late April through May, late October, and the first week of November.

When open, the main roads in Yellowstone are accessible by automobiles and motor homes alike. Motor homes and otherwise oversized vehicles, however, are not allowed on many of the side roads in the park. Read the rest

What is the best time to visit Yellowstone?

Although Yellowstone National Park is open year around, certain times are better to visit than others. The park is primarily open from May to October, with the months of July and August attracting the largest number of visitors. May, June and September are somewhat less crowded, and the weather during this time can still be a bit cool due to Yellowstone’s high altitude. For winter visitation, the months of January and February are best. Read the rest

When is Yellowstone open?

Although Yellowstone National Park is open year around, the park is fully accessible only from late May/early June to late October.

The northern section of the park’s roadway, from the North entrance at Gardiner, Montana to the northeast entrance at Cooke City, Montana is the only portion open year around.

Mid-December through early March is winter season, during which oversnow vehicles are permitted on snow-groomed roadways of the lower loop of the park, and from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris Geyser Basin.

From mid-March to mid-April park crews work on clearing the roads of snow. In early-to-mid April the park’s roads open for about two weeks of bicycle access only.

Lower elevation roads begin opening to automobile traffic in late April, and by about early June, depending on weather conditions, all of the roads in the Park are open to automobile traffic.

Then, depending on weather conditions, higher elevation roadways in Yellowstone begin closing in late October. All roads except the northern section close by the second week of the November. And in mid-December, some park roads, as noted above, open for oversnow vehicles.

2019 Spring Opening Dates

Conditions permitting, roads will open to regular (public) vehicles at 8:00 am on the following dates. Colors listed after the dates correspond to the colors on the 2019 Spring Opening and Fall Closing map.

  • April 19 (Blue): West Entrance to Madison Junction, Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful, Norris to Canyon Village.
  • May 3 (Yellow): East Entrance to Lake Village (Sylvan Pass), Canyon Village to Lake Village.
  • May 10 (Orange): South Entrance to West Thumb, Lake Village to West Thumb, West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass), Tower Junction to Tower Fall.
  • May 24 (Purple): Tower Fall to Canyon Village (Dunraven Pass)
  • May 24: Beartooth Highway

Map showing the road and entrance dates for automobiles.
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Explore the amazing wonders of Yellowstone National Park. A guide to visitor centers, park regulations and the top things to know before visiting Yellowstone. Read the rest

For some 150 million years geological processes, from glacial sculpting to volcanic activity, have crafted the mountains, canyons and plateaus of Yellowstone National Park. The Park’s geysers, hot springs, mudpots and steam vents are powered by volcanic forces. Read the rest

Yellowstone History

Set aside in 1872 as the world’s first national park, Yellowstone to many early explorers and visitors was simply known as “Wonderland.” “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people” reads the vast stone archway at the Park’s northern entrance. Read the rest


Anglers from all over the world come to fly fish the waters of Yellowstone. Here native trout live in pristine rivers, streams and lakes amid unparalleled beauty, wildlife and wilderness. Read the rest

Yellowstone Wildlife

Grizzlies. Wolves. Bison. Moose. Elk. Pronghorn. And so much more. Yellowstone is America’s Serengeti. And always remember: the animals are wild and dangerous! Maintain a proper distance as Park rules require Read the rest

Yellowstone Maps

At 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Whether you are driving or hiking for the first or twentieth time, maps are a necessity. Read the rest

Yellowstone is open (access limited)

Conditions in the park can change quickly, especially when winter storms hit during spring and fall. The map on this post (click title) lists current road status and highlights construction projects that might affect travel plans. Temporary road closures and delays may not be shown on this map.

2018-2019 Winter Opening Dates

Conditions permitting, roads will open to oversnow travel by snowmobile and snowcoach at 8 am on the following dates:

  • December 15: West Entrance to Old Faithful, Mammoth to Old Faithful, Canyon to Norris, Canyon to Lake, Old Faithful to West Thumb, South Entrance to Lake, Lake to Lake Butte Overlook.
  • December 22: East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook (Sylvan Pass)
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It’s not like being here in person, but from your home or office Yellowstone’s live webcams are a great way to see the beauty and wildness of Wonderland each and every day. Read the rest

Another Reason to Bring Your Smartphone to Yellowstone

Roosevelt Arch - Yellowstone National Park
Roosevelt Arch – Yellowstone National Park

The world’s first national park is now embracing decidedly 21st century technology at park entrances.

Starting this month, visitors who travel to Yellowstone National Park with their smartphones in pocket — and who doesn’t travel with a smartphone these days? — have the option of purchasing a digital pass online prior to their visit, and then displaying the digital pass on their smartphone at the entrance booth.

For those who prefer paper over digital, online passes can be printed out and used at park entrances.

Seven-day passes to Yellowstone National Park are $30 for private, non-commercial vehicles, $25 for motorcycles and snowmobiles, and $15 if entering the park by foot, bicycle, skis or snowshoes.

Annual Yellowstone passes cost $60.

Annual National Parks and Federal Lands passes, allowing access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites, are $80. Senior citizens have the option of purchasing an annual National Parks and Federal Lands pass for $20, or a lifetime pass for $80. Read the rest

Yellowstone Winter 2018 Trip Report, Days 0-10 (1/21-31)

From the Yellowstone Net Discussion Forum – Read the complete thread here

Post by Max » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:12 pm

I will be updating this thread with excerpts and links to my Winter 2018 trip reports, which will be posted every few days on my blog.


January 21, 2018
It’s been a while since I’ve flown out to Yellowstone for a winter trip, and it’s something I’ve never done for a tour-oriented trip. But frankly, flying sounded easier and much less stressful than driving twelve hours each way in wintry conditions. Even if it did mean having to pack way too many bags in order to accommodate winter clothing and tour supplies.

I arrived a few days prior to the start of my first tour, in order to get some scouting in and reacquaint myself with the park in winter. I didn’t make a winter trip last year, so it’s been a little while.

Of course, I arrived in the midst of the government shutdown, which has caused all sorts of stress for visitors, park personnel, local businesses, tour operators like myself and their clients. But at least this time the park remained open, so I was able to drive in for a short, late afternoon sojourn after coming down from Bozeman. It was chilly, but bright and sunny. And I almost immediately took advantage of the conditions by photographing a handsome coyote…

From the Yellowstone Net Discussion Forum – Read the complete thread here Read the rest

Mirror Plateau Backpacking Trip

From the Yellowstone Net Discussion Forum – Read the complete thread here

Post by Scatman » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:49 pm

This is a report from a seven day backpacking trip in July that took our group up onto the Mirror Plateau before heading off-trail to Opal Creek, Mirror Lake, Upper Pelican Creek, then heading down Raven Creek, up and over Lovely Pass to Mist Creek, and finally down Mist Creek and the Lamar River back to the Soda Butte Trailhead. The wildflowers along our whole route were just spectacular and from a wildlife perspective, this was the best trip I had ever been on. If you include our 21 mile day hike through Hayden Valley and up to Cygnet lakes the day before this trip, we saw a total of 12 grizzly bears in eight days, hundreds of bison, at least 50 elk, deer, coyotes and a lone wolf.

View up Soda Butte

Looking across the Lamar Valley towards the Mirror Plateau

The Lamar River

View from the Specimen Ridge Trail


More wildflowers – we ran into a sow and her cub shortly after this picture was taken

View as we approach the top of the Mirror Plateau

View from the top of the Mirror Plateau

Bison on the Mirror Plateau

View down Opal Creek in the late evening

View from the top of the Mirror Plateau

Ran into this big guy as we made our way through old burn and new growth

Absolutely gorgeous meadows on top of the plateau

Mirror Lake – north side

Mirror Lake – south side

More elk and bison along the headwaters of Timothy Creek

Elk Remains near the headwaters of Upper Pelican Creek

Grizzly bear on Upper Pelican Creek – seen from our campsite

Wildflowers near camp

Bison skull in the meadow along Upper Pelican Creek

Nice looking clouds

Fern Lake Patrol Cabin

Thermal area just off Pelican Creek

View down the Raven Creek Drainage – it rained hard all day long

Elephant Heads

The back side of a grizzly on Raven Creek

Lovely Pass

Heading down the south side of Lovely Pass – we ran into a sow and a cub in this new growth as we made our way down to Mist Creek

View from my tent at our campsite along Mist Creek

Grizzly – He would circle the meadow along Mist Creek for two days as we watched him.

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Yellowstone Trip June/July

Post by yellvet » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:46 pm

See the complete forum thread here

Trip Dates: June 15 thru July 14th

We camped at the Mammoth Campground before the Slough Creek CG opened, because I wanted to photograph the elk newborns and spring wildflowers. Had a wonderful time and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Best photo ops and pix came from the upper tier of the campground. Made a day trip over to Slough Creek CG before it opened, to see the impact of last year’s fire. Gotta say that we were very pleasantly surprised and relieved. The firefighters did a fantastic job maintaining the integrity and primitive nature of the SC campground and the surrounding area. Most of our closest friends are long-time SC campers and backpackers. So, all of us would like to give our sincerest thanks to all the Buffalo Creek fire fighters who helped save the SC campground and trails! You did a superb job!

June 15 through July 14
On June 15th we moved over to the SC campground. Saw and photographed many critters that were in or close to the campground….male grizzly bear, a black bear sow with 2 adorable cubs (1-black, 1-cinnamon), several pronghorns, a few elk and a coyote, badger and red fox that waltzed through our campsite almost daily to hunt. To see the red fox at SC again was a thrill. I’ve been photographing the different generations of the SC fox family for close to 30 years so it was great to see that the fox family had escaped the fire last year and was still OK. The wildflowers, however, were disappointing and fairly sparse this year. And, the few that were in bloom, looked very puny….probably due to the heat and intensity of last year’s fire. Made 2 or 3 trips over to Floating Island Lake to see what ducks and birds were around.

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Planet Yellowstone: Live from the park, part 8

 by Helene on Wed May 30, 2012 10:31 pm

No Internet yesterday, just got in the Motel 6 in Jackson. Scrambling to keep up late in the game too, I’ve been talking (and seeing) too much and writing too little. So here is the old news first, hopefully I can tell you about today, tomorrow.

May 28, am
The morning drive got underway at 6:20 am and it included sightings of 2 black bears (a cinnamon at Elk Creek and a black a hair east and across the road from Floating Island Lake), a coyote (going downhill on Tower Road), a red tailed hawk (perched on a treetop in Little America) and Ria & Al, plus her folks (parked at Roosevelt). The Ria sighting was a revelation in itself, and on top of that she confessed to having illegally brought some pretty rotten North Dakota weather to Yellowstone.

The good old boys club of bighorn rams got together at the Yellowstone picnic area, and a frivolous ewe was getting the attention of some of the lads. Her coat looked a little moth-eaten, but she did a good job of selling her hide to the highest bidder.


12:05 pm
Lunch and the first hours after that were reserved for the off-chance of seeing the antelope fawns just outside the North Entrance. While their mother acted as if she didn’t have a thing to do with any kids, the 2 little ones were laying low far away from the cow and well separated from each other. If anything, the cow distanced herself even further from the fawns while we were there, and the wee ones hardly moved at all. Occasionally a little head bobbed up, but mostly the fawns were all ears.


Fortunately, according to informed sources, other Y-net correspondents were present at a nursing episode that took place about 2 hours later.

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Visitors should plan well ahead of time to secure lodging in the Yellowstone area. From the rustic and world famous Old Faithful Inn to modern hotels in the Park’s gateway communities, there are lodging options for any need. Read the rest

At 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Whether you are driving or hiking for the first or twentieth time, maps are a necessity Read the rest

Old Faithful. Beehive. Grand Prismatic. Morning Glory. These are but a few of the thousands of amazing geysers and beautiful hot springs of Yellowstone that comprise the greatest collection of thermal features on planet Earth. Read the rest

Set aside in 1872 as the world’s first national park, Yellowstone to many early explorers and visitors was simply known as “Wonderland.” “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people” reads the vast stone archway at the Park’s northern entrance. Read the rest

Amazing geysers. Beautiful hot springs. Magnificent waterfalls. Vast wilderness. North America’s greatest display of free-roaming wildlife. Here’s where to start planning your Yellowstone adventure. Read the rest

Get the latest news and weather from Yellowstone National Park. Disscusion Forum Feeds, Weather maps, NPS News feed Road Conditions and more. Read the rest

Grizzlies. Wolves. Bison. Moose. Elk. Pronghorn. And so much more. Yellowstone is America’s Serengeti. And always remember: the animals are wild and dangerous! Maintain a proper distance as Park rules require. Read the rest

7 day pass

Private, non-commercial vehicle$35
Individuals by foot, bicycle, ski, etc.$20
Read the rest